Wes Ward To Be Reappointed as Secretary of Agriculture
Arkansas Governor-Elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced her intention to reappoint Wes Ward as Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Arkansas.

"He has done an excellent job growing our largest industry while serving our nation in uniform," said Governor-Elect Sanders. "Agriculture is the backbone of our economy - and together we will work to remain a global leader."

"Governor-Elect Sanders has a deep appreciation for agriculture and she will do great things for Arkansas and our state's largest industry," said Secretary Ward. "I am humbled and excited to continue to serve under her leadership."

Secretary Ward is from Lake City, Arkansas. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business with an emphasis in Agricultural Finance from Arkansas State University. He also earned a law degree (JD), a Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) in Agricultural and Food Law, and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Arkansas.

Ward has been serving in the United States Marine Corps for over 22 years and has completed deployments and exercises in Afghanistan, Jordan, and Japan. He is currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserves as a Detachment Commander with the 1st Civil Affairs Group in Camp Pendleton, California.

He has served as the Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Arkansas since he was first appointed in March 2015 by Governor Asa Hutchinson. He also serves as the Second Vice President for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).
Huneycutt Family Named 2022 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year
Congratulations to the Huneycutt Family for being named the 2022 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year! For 35 years, the Huneycutt Family has owned and farmed over 3,400 acres in Clark County.
Photos courtesy of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. Additional photos from the 2022 Farm Family of the Year Luncheon can be found here.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is Hiring!
Are you passionate about Arkansas agriculture? With many new and exciting career opportunities, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture is looking for highly motivated individuals to bring their passion for the Arkansas agriculture industry to the workplace.

Visit arcareers.arkansas.gov or check out our Facebook pages for open positions in Shared Services, Forestry, Livestock and Poultry, Plant Industries, and Natural Resources!
Arkansas Department of Agriculture Collects Over 500,000 Pounds of Unwanted Pesticides
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program collected 509,133 pounds of unwanted pesticides in 16 counties during 2022 collection events. Since 2005, the Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program has overseen the collection of 5,860,843 pounds of unwanted pesticides in counties across Arkansas.

“The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is proud to work with our partners in administering the Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “Events like these, held annually throughout the state, help ensure safe and proper disposal of unwanted pesticides and prevent them from potentially polluting our environment.”

The totals for each event were:

• Sevier/Little River County: 581 pounds
• Howard/Pike County: 488 pounds
• Polk/Montgomery County: 3,798 pounds
• Arkansas County: 142,000 pounds
• Saline/Grant County: 79,132 pounds
• Hempstead/Nevada County: 7,623 pounds
• Hot Spring/Garland County: 39,643 pounds
• Miller/Lafayette County: 14,504 pounds
• Lawrence County: 220,364 pounds

Participation in collection events is free and anonymous to farmers and other non-industrial landowners. The program is funded through pesticide registration fees. Pesticide collection events have taken place in every county in the state.

Commonly collected items include old or outdated pesticides such as calcium arsenate, sodium cyanide, lindane, chlordane, and 2,4,5-T. Registered pesticides, like glyphosate products and 2,4-D, that are unusable because they have been exposed to the elements or have been held over from previous growing seasons also can be collected.

The Abandoned Pesticide Advisory Board selects county sites for collection events and moves locations by region within the state seasonally. Priority watersheds are a large consideration factor for the Advisory Board in choosing counties/regions for site collection.

The Agricultural Abandoned Pesticide Program is conducted in cooperation with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Farm Bureau, and the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment. Representatives from these agencies make up the Abandoned Pesticide Advisory Board. This board selects county sites for collection events. Priority watersheds are a large consideration for the Advisory Board in choosing counties/regions for site collection.
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission Makes Conservation District Director Appointments 
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission approved one new conservation district director appointment and fifteen reappointments at its meeting on December 2.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division provides leadership and support for Arkansas’s 75 conservation districts. Conservation districts are political subdivisions of the State of Arkansas created by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1937 for the purpose of providing locally led conservation of the state’s land and water resources. Each district is governed by a board of five directors, including three elected by resident landowners and two appointed by the Natural Resources Commission.

“Many state and federal conservation programs are made available through conservation districts,” said Chris Colclasure, Director of the Natural Resources Division. “They provide technical assistance and resources to landowners in their counties, and the local board members play an especially important role in managing district business and staff,” said Colclasure.

One district appointed new director:

  • Lafayette County- Reid Hays

Fifteen districts reappointed directors:

  • Baxter County- Robert Benedict
  • Clark County- Rebecca Baumgardner
  • Clay County- Stephen Crancer
  • Crittenden County- Woody Ray
  • Crooked Creek- Donald Austin
  • Dallas County- Roy Johnson
  • Dallas County- Ed Givens
  • Faulkner County- Rocky Harrell
  • Independence County- Julia Nail
  • Lincoln County- Keith Shepherd
  • Newton County- Denver Smith
  • Newton County- Waymon Villines
  • Sebastian County- Conaly Bedell
  • Sebastian County- Douglas Ellison
  • Stone County- Derek Littrell

More information about the Natural Resource Division’s conservation programs can be found here.
Take Me Home for the Holidays
Are you interested in handmade gifts such as pottery, candles, jewelry, and health & beauty products made right here in the Natural State?

This holiday season, skip the big box retail stores and shop local with Arkansas Grown and Arkansas Made. Learn more about the Arkansas Grown and Arkansas Made programs here and follow along on social media to see featured producers each week like Melba Peach Candle Company, Lake in The Willows Apiary, and Garden Girl Farms.
2022 Arkansas Grown
The University of Arkansas Irrigation Water Management group, led by Dr. Chris Henry, Russ Parker, Travis Clark, and Casey Sieber, is helping Arkansas farmers improve their irrigation practices while maintaining crop yields and improving farm profitability.

Read more about how this group is improving irrigation practices in the Natural State in the 2022 edition of Arkansas Grown. You can view the magazine online here, or find a physical copy at various locations around the state.
Photo Features
The Department kicked off the holidays by celebrating on December 13th. The holiday party consisted of an ugly sweater contest, a door decorating contest, a treat trail, and food drive for the Arkansas Food Bank. Additional photos can be found here. Happy Holidays from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture!
The inaugural Arkansas Harvest Recap was held on Friday, December 16 in Keo. Farmers had the opportunity to recap their year and heard from Arkansas leaders, crop experts, and representatives. Speakers included Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward; Brian Burton, CEO of the Arkansas Foodbank; Dr. Jeremy Ross, Dr. Jarrod Hardke, and Dr. John Anderson; and Joe Goudsward, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service. The event also consisted of a roundtable discussion with Congressman Bruce Westerman and Congressman Rick Crawford. Additional photos from the event can be found here.
Earlier this month, Natural Resources Division staff conducted four days of training across the state for conservation district employees and board members. Meetings were held in Hope, Monticello, Russellville, and Forest City. Staff presentation topics included tax credits, agricultural water quality loans, unpaved roads, water-use registration, poultry registration, cost share, and more Division programs.

The Humphrey Fire Department in Arkansas County received a 2009 Chevy 3500 from the Rural Fire Protection Program (RFP).

Pictured are Walter Burgess, fire chief and Wyatt Golleher, firefighter.
New Resources, Trainings, & Opportunities
Save the Date: Arkansas Grown Conference
Mark your calendars! The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Arkansas Grown program is partnering with Arkansas agriculture associations and organizations to host the first Arkansas Grown Conference & Expo. This event is open to all parties interested in the Arkansas agriculture industry and will focus on farmers and producers who are committed to our local food system. Conference speakers will cover topics such as legal issues, business management, connecting with buyers, and more!

If you are interested in sponsoring the conference or having a vendor booth, click here. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2022.

The registration deadline is January 11, 2023. Register here.

Read more about the conference here.
Voice of Forestry Podcast Discusses Forestry Careers
In the December episode of Voice of Forestry, Seth Stephenson with the Arkansas Forestry Association sat down with Joe Fox, Arkansas State Forester and director of the Forestry Division, to discuss various career paths in the industry and what some employers are looking for in potential workers.

Listen to the episode here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher.
December Garden Guide

Check out the December garden guide from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service for tips and gardening tasks to be completed this month! Find the guide here.
NASDA 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations

Members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) recently broadened their recommendations for the 2023 farm bill to include topics such as funding for local and regional food processing and increased food assistance. Read more here.
The Poultry Federation Food Safety Conference
The Poultry Federation's 11th Annual Food Safety Conference is scheduled to take place on March 7-9, 2023, at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Food safety professionals, industry representatives, and members of the academic community from across the country are encouraged to attend the conference where they will receive information on food safety, quality, and compliance challenges. Visit here to learn more and register.

Arkansas Department of Agriculture's
Annual Report

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report provides information about the Department and how it served Arkansas agriculture, our state's largest industry, from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Click here to view the 2022 Annual Report.
USDA Updates
2022 Census of Agriculture
Last month, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) mailed out a unique survey code to every known ag producer in the U.S. with an invitation to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture online. The paper questionnaire followed in December with the option to respond online, by mail, or telephone.

The ag census includes every operation – large or small, urban or rural – from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or would normally be produced and sold, in the ag census year. A complete count, with every producer taking the opportunity to be represented in these widely used and influential data, is vital. The data influence business and supply chain logistics and inform policy and program decisions that directly impact producers, their operations, and communities. For more information, click here.

Find the latest ag census information here.
Weekly Market Summary

Each Friday, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture publishes a comprehensive Weekly Market Summary, which includes the Arkansas Weekly Livestock Auction Summary and Related Individual Market Sale Summaries, National Weekly Rice Summary, Memphis Weekly Feed Report, Weekly Rice, Grain, Cotton, and Feed Futures Trends, Weekly Livestock and Milk Futures Trends, Bid Prices to Farmers, Arkansas Daily Grain Report, Heading Links for Historical Data, and news.

The summary is available on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Market Reports webpage, as well as each Division's webpage and Facebook page, and you may sign-up to receive the summary by email at Subscribe To Notifications And Publications.
Follow us on social media!

For the latest in Arkansas agriculture, be sure to follow us on social media! Links to our social media pages can be found here.
Arkansas Ag Facts: Arkansas Farm Family of the Year
  • Arkansas has 42,000 farms and 96 percent are family owned.
  • The Arkansas agriculture industry's achievements would not be possible without the dedicated, efficient, and innovative Arkansas farm families who work tirelessly to provide food, fiber, and shelter at home and abroad.
  • The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program is celebrating its 75th anniversary of recognizing outstanding farm families and promoting Arkansas agriculture.
  • Sixty-nine farm families have been selected this year as Farm Family of the Year in Arkansas in 2022.
  • The Arkansas Farm Family Program is sponsored by Arkansas Farm Bureau, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas, Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development.
Upcoming Agriculture Events
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